Category Archives: events-1

Cohesion Plus events

Cohesion Plus Programme Outline for 2018

Cohesion Plus who will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 are proud to announce an exciting programme of culturally diverse festivals in Kent throughout the year. Our festival programme will run from April to November and highlights include the Saint George’s Day celebrations in the spring, the Mela Festivals in the summer and Lantern Parades in the autumn.

The outline schedule is below;

  • April 23rd St George’s Day Celebrations Gravesend
  • April 23rd St George’s Day Celebrations Dartford
  • June 16th Fusion Street Festival Gravesend
  • July 1st Tunbridge Wells Mela Festival
  • July 22nd Maidstone Community Mela (Subject to Funding)
  • October 5th Wrotham Festival of Light
  • October 12th Swale Fusion Festival (Subject to Funding)
  • October 19th Dartford Festival of Light
  • November 16th Gravesham Festival of Light

According to Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director “We are looking forward to a big year in 2018 with a range of culturally diverse festivals around Kent, showcasing not only excellence in the arts but also how arts can be used to bring communities together and celebrate our shared values. We are also working on some exciting commissions which will appear under the Folkin Fusion banner at the festivals. We are grateful to the support we have received to date from artists, volunteers, local authority partners and Arts Council England which has allowed us to get to where we have in the space of 10 years.”

The BIG Seven-0 is coming!

Cohesion Plus are delighted to be working with Same Sky and Crawley Borough Council on The BIG Seven-0, Crawley’s flagship 70th birthday event, which takes place in the town centre on Saturday 25 November from 1.30-6pm.

Independent artists and community groups have been exploring the cultural heritage of the town – past, present and future – working with Cohesion Plus and Same Sky. Schools and community partners including Oriel High School, Our Lady Queen of Heaven and The Foyer have been amongst the organisations involved in the build-up.

This major, family event, funded by Arts Council England, will include a colourful carnival-style parade featuring local artists, bands and community groups. It will celebrate the diversity of Crawley followed by an exciting stage programme, lights and a firework finale in the Memorial Gardens.

The parade route around the town centre goes from The Broadway, then the Historic High Street before finishing in the Memorial Gardens. With up to 400 people participating, plus dancers and drummers, it promises to be a fantastic spectacle.

The stage will feature local and professional artists, headlined by renowned Ed Sheeran tribute act Jack Shepherd as well as performances by Mark Lees, Ace Academy of Irish Dance, Four by Four Bhangra Dancers, Drumbeats African Drumming and Versme Lithuanian Folklore Dance Group. The festival will be opened by Falco and the Hawks Jazz Blues.

A community marquee will house stalls for community groups and there will be food stalls along Queensway.

For further information please visit www.crawleybigseven0.co.uk

Gravesham Festival of Christmas Lights

Some 1500 people participated in the Gravesham Festival of Christmas Lights on Friday 17th November which incorporated the switching on the town’s Christmas Lights. The celebrations were organised by Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Gravesham Borough Council supported by Arts Council England.

10 local schools took part in a lantern parade led by the Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Harold Craske along with representatives from various faith and community organisations as well as street entertainers Bloco Fogo Samba, Brass Volcanoes, the Drumming Santa’s and the Black Knights. All the schools worked with Same Sky in the build up to the parade to create special lanterns which were showcased during the event.

The parade started at Community Square and then travelled down Windmill Street, New Road, through the St Georges Shopping Centre before finishing at Gravesham Borough Market. The Christmas Lights were switched on in the Town Centre as the parade passed by.

The climax of the celebrations took place in the Gravesham Borough Market where the Cohesion Plus produced “Drumming Santa’s” performed bringing a unique fusion of Christmas tunes to Bhangra and African drumming to entertain and wow the crowds. This was a new production co-produced with Bill Singh and Lucky Moyo. It underlined the whole ethos of Cohesion Plus namely using the arts to break down barriers and push artistic boundaries.

Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus who led on the organisation of the event commented “I was overwhelmed by the positive response we had to the celebrations on Friday. Christmas is always a special time of year for everyone and to see so many people from diverse backgrounds participating in the celebrations was wonderful. I believe passionately that the arts are an excellent way of bringing communities together and this was an excellent example of this. I have said previously that other parts of the country can learn from the work that we do here in Kent as it is important to celebrate all that binds us together in local communities. We have had a positive response to the Drumming Santa’s production something I am very proud of and hope we can take the show on the road in 2018.

Gravesham Lights switch on poster

Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Gravesham Borough Council supported by Arts Council England have organised the Gravesham Festival of Christmas Lights which will take place on Friday November 17th between 3.45pm and 5.30pm.

The town centre event will be kicking off from 3.45pm. Crowds can expect street entertainers including a Jack Frost themed mime artist, Santa and his helpers on stilts, Bloco Fogo Samba, Brass Volcanoes and the Drumming Santa’s.

Around 500 school children from 10 local schools will then take part in a lantern parade led by the Mayor of Gravesham Councillor Harold Craske, which will start at Community Square at 4.30pm with the switching on of the Christmas tree lights. The schools have been working with Same Sky Arts on Christmas Lanterns which they will showcase during the parade.

The parade will then go via Windmill Street, New Road, through the St Georges Shopping Centre before finishing at Gravesham Borough Market. The Christmas Lights will be switched on in the Town Centre as the parade passes. The celebrations will climax with a series of performances including the stars of this year’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

The Cohesion Plus produced “Drumming Santa’s” will be also performing in the Town Centre and the Gravesham Borough Market led by Lucky Mayo and Billy Singh. The Drumming Santa’s will be bringing a unique fusion of Christmas tunes, Bhangra and African drumming to entertain and wow the crowds.

Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “We are really looking forward to the Christmas Parade and Light switch on this Friday. This will launch the Christmas celebrations in the borough and we hope the local community will come out to support us on Friday. A lot of hard work has taken place in the build-up and we believe it will be an excellent showcase of how the arts can bring communities together to celebrate all that binds us together in the Town regardless of faith and background.

Schools taking part in the celebrations are, Cecil Road Primary, Holy Trinity Primary, Ifield School, Kings Farm Primary, Painters Ash Primary, Riverview Infant Junior School, St Botolph’s Primary, St Georges Secondary, St Johns Primary, and Westcourt Primary.

The event is funded via Cohesion Plus, who received a Grant Award from Arts Council England, Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Gravesham Borough Council.

Click on poster to enlarge